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Felipe Luciano

David Fenton, born 1953
Felipe Luciano, born c. 1948
Gelatin silver print
Image: 15.1 x 23.1 cm (5 15/16 x 9 1/8")
Sheet: 20.3 x 25.5 cm (8 x 10 1/16")
Mat: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© David Fenton
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born New York City
In 1969 Felipe Luciano helped to found the New York chapter of the Young Lords, a political activist group that served as an important voice for the Puerto Rican community. A reformed gang member, Luciano—known during this period as "the Magnet"—emerged as a charismatic orator. He led numerous demonstrations and initiated campaigns on behalf of New York’s Puerto Rican community. At this time he also began to deliver spoken-word performances and was a member of the Original Last Poets, a group of writers whose frequently improvisational compositions were rooted in street culture. In this 1970 photograph, the twenty-two-year-old Luciano stands before a brick wall in Harlem on which the motto "Patria O Muerte" (Nation or Death) has been written. He is still an active media personality and speaks to government and corporate leaders on issues affecting the Latino community.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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